Bringing home Mari, part 1September 11th, 2011 at 15:56
Let me start out by saying nobody should just go out and adopt a dog on a whim. In my own defense, I’d been planning my puppy adoption for quite a while (aka years) before Mari came home, and I had a good idea of what I was looking for in a breed to make a good companion. Mari is part German Shepherd, part Border Collie. The Border Collie is the concerning half, though both breeds contribute to a smart (and potentially very destructive) dog.
My dog growing up was part Border Collie, part Black Lab. At the time we didn’t know about the border collie personality, and he proved to be quite the handful for a 6-year-old, and 4-year-old, and two not-particularly-interested adults. In retrospect, it was a bad match, though we loved him dearly.
Bringing Mari home was a situation with a lot of potential problems. First off, we already had 4 dogs (3.25 really, mini-pincher Twitch doesn’t seem to count) and that very night I had to start my work-week with my typical 10-hour graveyard shift. While I’d bought her a crate, keeping her cooped up for 10 hours was not a kind option, nor would it likely be a quiet one. That night I had little choice. My roommates, happily, also understood the initial challenges and stepped up magnificently. I went to work, Mari was placed in her crate before I left, and Mav got up a few times in the night to sooth her, then let her out early in the morning to run around a bit before I got home.
Our house has two levels, and most of the top level is either hardwood floors or tile. That made the inevitable accident a bit easier to manage. The carpeted stairs proved to be too big for little Mari to consider going down and messing. On the other hand, the other dogs slept down those stairs, and that left her alone upstairs to make trouble. Her chew toys initially kept her from the furniture, though she did like digging in the large pot of dirt we had as a weight for the barrier to the living room. The major problem was her fussing and crying in the early morning hours before roommates wanted to be awake, and before I got home.
At the time I was working in a dungeon-like basement that adjoined our Orem datacenter. For a long time I had been almost completely alone 3 of the 4 nights I worked, but recently I’d been given a new co-worker, who was also a good friend. He was wonderfully amicable to the idea of bringing her to work, but that too would present problems. As a computer person, even if our little dungeon office had few machines she could mess with, I didn’t consider it an option to let he just run around all night. That meant she’d have to stay in the crate and receive occasional potty breaks. But this was my job and I had to pay attention to the servers first. So if she fussed, she was a potential distraction to myself and co-workers while we fixed problems (which sometimes took several hours). And Dave wasn’t the only co-worker I had to consider. Cade, who had a fairly new dog himself, had no qualms about me bringing her in and encouraged me to do so without worrying about the others. I think he liked he idea of possibly bringing his own furry friend. But I ended up waiting another night to get approval from the majority of my co-workers before I started bringing her in. I had no doubt that having her there wouldn’t be much different than bringing a new-born to work with me each night.
Indeed that’s exactly how it felt. My co-workers either agreed or didn’t mind the idea, and I started toting Mari into work each night, crate and all. Even initially, at 10 pounds, this was awkward. I had to feed her before work, settle her down, tuck her into her crate, then haul her, crate and all out the door. Additionally I carried a large blanket to cover the crate while she slept at work, and a few toys, poo bags, and snacks. I felt very much like a mom carrying around a new baby and accessories. But for the most part it worked out quite well. Mari stayed in her crate and got a few strokes when she fussed. When she woke up at night (usually two or three times), I’d look for an opportunity to pick her up and take her outside for a bathroom break. As this was the end of January there was a lot of snow on the ground and it was quite cold out. Mari didn’t mind either condition (she LOVES snow), and I walked a fine line of making sure she had time to do her business, and making sure she didn’t get to play all night.
Back inside she would get a little drink of water, handed her toy, and be put back to bed. She showed no interest in the snacks. And that was how I managed Mari until she became too heavy to tote around each day (about 6 weeks later).
To be continued…